Color Film Recommendations for High Contrast Light

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by eggyj, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. eggyj

    eggyj Member

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    I will be going to Montana soon (not to be a dental floss tycoon) and will doing mostly mid day shooting in the mountains. I'm looking for a film recommendation to try and manage the high contrast wide latitude situations that usually arise. If it's cloudy and dull Velvia would be my first choice but for harsh sunlight what do you suggest? Shooting 35mm manual camera so any bracketing for scans and HDR would be difficult.

    Thanks in advance.

    Ed Gill
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you want to shoot slide film in hard light, try Fuji Astia 100F.
     
  3. mrladewig

    mrladewig Member

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    Kodak Portra 160NC, Fuji Pro 160S, Porta 160VC, Fuji Reala, Kodak HD400 would be my top choices in that order. All are preferable to any slide film I've used in tough light.
     
  4. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Kodak EPN or e200 if you can find it.
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    For landscapes [mountians, lakes, snow on the mountians] I recommend Kodak UC 400 for 35mm.

    Steve
     
  6. eggyj

    eggyj Member

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    Wow, quick responses, very nice community!

    I was leaning toward negative film for the exposure latitude and easy highlight roll off. I'll take some slide film if the weather socks in but I usually run into to much contrast and harsh light when I can't plan to be out at the good hours.

    I was considering the Porta(s) but hadn't had any experience with them. I've shot 400UC and lots of Reala both good films but was looking to try something different.

    Really appreciate the feedback
     
  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Try Portra 400NC, that's what it's made for:

    [​IMG]

    This was taken with a Mamiya C330 w/ 55mm f/4.5 lens, in a logger's cabin, New Richmond (QC). Did I hear anybody say "dynamic range" ?
     

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  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd take a variety of negative films if you are looking to make RA prints from compositions with a wide luminance range. I'd probably bring 400NC and 400VC for sure, and possibly Portra 800 and 160NC.
     
  9. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    for neg film any of the NC's or Reala would be my choice.
     
  10. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    High contrast?

    In my experience, mid-day summer light is low contrast, not high. While Velvia/Crayola turns me off, I'd suggest Provia rather than Astia for these conditions.
     
  11. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    I also vote for Portra 400VC or 400NC, or Fuji 400H. In general the ISO 160 versions of these films are contrastier than their faster cousins (as expected) if excessive contrast is your major concern. I'd probably pick 400NC in those conditions; I think it handles high-contrast scenes better than the others I've listed, though all would suffice.
     
  12. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have't shot much 400nc, but I never remember it having less contrast than 160nc. Not to be argumentative but I've generally found faster films to be more contrasty than medium speed films. Probably the least contrasty film I've used in recent years is portra 100t. As a general rule the more exposure you give a film (shy of having the film block up) the more it will be able to capture the scene's contrast range. That being said a film that is built not to block up, like the Portra films (opposed to the original fuji NPS, NPC and to a lessor degree NPL films), especially NC, would be the way to go. I can't comment on the newer Fuji's as I have only shot about 100 rolls of the 160c and about half that of 160s and have not pushed (or pulled I guess) the exposure range of the film. The newer fuji films do seem to have greater exposure latitude than their predecessors.

    Again I would recommend Reala along with Portra NC. It has great exposure latitude and is great for contrasty scenes. The colour palette is a bit more plastic and therefore maybe ever so less suitable for skin and earthier scenes.

    As in all things I would test the film first using your standard metering and shooting style and when testing bracket toward over exposure. Any exposure over box speed, depending upon how you meter or how acurate your meter is, will get you more contrast.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2009
  13. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    It depends if you're also trying to get details out of shadows. The highlights look rather flat under the white hot light of midday, the colours look desaturated, but if there are little to no clouds, there will be quite a few stops between shadows and highlights.
     
  14. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I have generally found faster films to be less contrasty than slower films. That is why I love 400 and 800 films so much. There are exceptions, but Portra 400NC does not seem like one of them to me.
     
  15. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Fuji 400 is certainly low contrast (and a bit of an exception as I remember), but their 800z by both my own experience and by Fuji's marketing is a high contrast film. Having said that I don't generally shoot the faster films and we all seem to have differing experiences. If I want to tame a high contrast setting I'll shoot a medium speed portrait/wedding film with a wide latitude. I'm sure others have found success doing it differently.
     
  16. eggyj

    eggyj Member

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    Again, I appreciate all the good advice. I love it when two folks can say the opposite and both be right. Sal is correct the mid-day front lighting can be very dull, flat, and washed out calling for a Velvia, E100VS, or Reala to add punch. Michel is also correct on the hugh dynamic range and hard contrast - same time of day but under trees, side or top lit rock faces. I see the best advice is to take a variety of film and adapt to the situation. I just didn't have any experience with the Porta(s) and Fuji Pro films favored by Portrait and Wedding shooters trying to hold details in white wedding dresses and black tuxes simultaneously, which of course is hard test of range and highlight "soft shoulder".

    All you kind folks have provided a good store of advice - much appreciated.

    Regards
    Ed Gill
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Oh my. Well I typically take no less than five colour films with me on the road... velvia 100, astia 100F, provia 400x, fuji pro s and pro h. Which I use depends on the light, the colours in the scene, and the timing requirements, and quite often I go back and forth. Almost without fail, though, my favourite shots wind up being on the three slide films.